News of Oklahoma and Texas jointly leaving the Big 12 for the SEC exploded Thursday upon reports that both schools had skipped the Big 12 conference call.
Since then, a lot of information has risen to the surface. Here’s a quick summary of it.
Allegedly, talks began quite some time ago. Over a year ago, according to some, and late last year, according to others.
Sources: The ACC and other leagues have made inquiries — through back channels — to Oklahoma and Texas. The schools are still expected to start the process of joining the SEC next week. The Texas and OU backchannel communication to the SEC has been going on for more than a year.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) July 23, 2021
More than a year? Less? Regardless, it appears OU and Texas have long been conspiring with the SEC to make this move happen.
Texas & Oklahoma officials reached out to SEC in late December/early January, sources close to the schools told @Stadium. “(UT & OU) have been in lockstep the whole time,” source said. “They decided then they were leaving. It was just figuring out where.”
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 23, 2021
It’s still TBD as to whether or not the SEC left Texas A&M out of the discussion.
Prominent Big 12 source tells the American-Statesman the Texas-OU move to the SEC is almost done. “They’ve been working on this for a minimum of 6 months, and the A&M leadership was left out of discussions and wasn’t told about it.” Move could become official in a week.
— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) July 23, 2021
Why would A&M be left out of the discussion? Well, we all have our ideas. And I’ve seen a recurring theme between social media and sports group texts with the boys… It seems like the rest of the SEC didn’t want to deal with A&M’s complaints – namely, being the only Texas team in the SEC – over what would be a huge move for the conference.
Regardless, according to R. Bowen Loftin, letting Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC without Texas A&M’s consent would “break a long-standing ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between SEC schools that gives conference members ‘absolute veto power.’
“There’s this understanding among the membership — at least it was 10 years ago — that you don’t admit a school from the same state as a member school unless that member school’s OK with it.”
Oklahoma and Texas’ motives are somewhat unclear. Also, the move would cost both schools a pretty penny.
So far, and to many of the remaining Big 12’s confusion, the real reason for Oklahoma and Texas moving to the SEC isn’t certain. More money? More respect? Better teams, period? Whispers have come from the Big 12 offices asking what would make OU and Texas stay. Strangely, it seems a bit early, yet all too late to get that answer.
Although not final or officially verified, Oklahoma and Texas seem to be out the door. According to reports, the two schools look to start the process of joining the SEC as soon as next week, despite the hefty price tag that comes alongside leaving the Big 12.
JUST IN: Oklahoma and Texas are leaving the Big 12, per @ChipBrown247 🚨
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) July 23, 2021
Now, the rest of the conference is struggling to make sense of things. Best of luck to all.
Sources also tell @TheAthletic that the process is in play among remaining Big 12 members to assess their potential value to other conferences. The 8 remaining schools pledged on their call last night to stay together, but they also are making contingency plans.
— Sam Khan Jr. (@skhanjr) July 23, 2021